Brooke’s Open Wilderness Literacy and Science (OWLS) program is an alternative educational experience/outdoor school for children ages 5-11 to connect, grow, and learn together in nature.
OWLS is an alternative educational experience/outdoor learning pod for a multi-age elementary group to connect, grow, and learn together in nature. We offer a 3 day program (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) with flexible drop off at 9am or 11am. We are also offering the option to attend one or two days a week.
We spend 3 weeks a month at Camp Herms in El Cerrito and 1 week a month in the Tilden Nature Area.
The outdoor classroom provides a multitude of opportunities to learn and grow in connection with each other and nature through hands-on engagement with our environment. We develop caring relationships as empathetic team members to facilitate independence and collaboration. Our natural experiences and studies inspire a love of learning and literature.
Brooke builds relationships with students to design units of inquiry and study. She documents their explorations through note taking and photographs. Each week, she puts together a community newsletter to share their investigations and discoveries with their families. This newsletter also includes updates, reminders and helpful links to community resources and events, as well as, homework assignments.
She uses Next Generation Science Standards and California English Language Arts Standards to guide my lesson designs. Literacy & Science instruction is offered through guided reading, novel exploration, and interactive writing.
The curriculum and units of inquiry are inspired by nature! Literacy skills are practiced and strengthened alongside deep investigations into plants, animals, and fungi. Scientific knowledge is expanded upon through guided reading, novel exploration, and interactive writing that supports academic and social-emotional development.
The day is structured with the students. At morning meetings, we have discussions to agree upon our schedule for the day. As the day goes on, we may make adjustments as a group.
Sample Daily Schedule:
9:00-9:15 Student Check-In and Drop Off
9:15 Morning Meeting
9:30 Hike/Plant & Bird ID
10:00 Sit Spot (will increase time of sit spot throughout the year starting with 10 minutes progressing to one hour or more by Spring!)
11:00 Literacy/Science Instruction: Guided & Independent Reading and/or Writing, Journaling.
1:30 Hike/Plant & Bird ID
2:00 Outdoor Skills Instruction & Practice: For example: Knot tying, tarp shelters, carving projects, basket weaving, knitting, etc.
3:00 Final meeting of the day
3:15-3:30 Grown Ups Check In and Pick Up their student(s)
They always make sure to hike, explore and do one sit spot. Snack is always around 10:30 and lunch is always around noon with play time after. We do an hour of literacy work and allot an hour to practice skills, although these may be broken up into smaller chunks of time rather than in one solid hour. Adjustments are made based on weather, environment, and interest.
Homework is assigned to enrich our studies and allow students to develop independence, responsibility, and accountability.
Check the weather forecast!
Students must check, wear, and pack their gear.